Leaders – if ever there was a time to celebrate all that your team delivered and accomplished, it is now.   

Recognize Your Team

As the calendar year comes to a close, instead of rushing to get this year behind you, slow down and spend some time honoring the team that got you through.

These are the people who, individually and collectively, continued to show up and deliver for you and the organization every day despite what was happening in our global economy, during the pandemic, under strained company finances, in addition to enduring stress in their own households exacerbated by  school shut downs and state imposed quarantines, and through the divisive environment created by racial tensions and the U.S. presidential election. 

Even through widespread layoffs and sickness across our communities, your team members continued to put in real work and deliver results.  They were resilient and impactful.

So, even though social distancing and tight budget constraints prevent most of us from hosting traditional “all out” holiday and end of the year events now, it is imperative that we as leaders do not let this holiday season pass without expressing our sincere gratitude to those who work for us. 

My recommendation would be to K.I.S.S. your team celebrations this year – Keep It Simple Stupid. (I can’t tell you how much angst I had in writing those words out.  Even though I am certain you are already familiar with the K.I.S.S. acronym, my stomach still did a thing of discomfort at the slight chance it would be misinterpreted). Moving on….

Ideas on How to Celebate

A few simple, but meaningful, low-cost, end of year celebration ideas for you to consider.  I guarantee that one or all of these would be greatly appreciated by your team.

  • Write personal notecards to each member of your team.  While small, this genuine gesture shows that you as a leader care enough to take the time to write to everyone on your team.  The greatest investment here is your time, plus the cost of the notecards and postage to send to everyone’s homes.  Your written message could be simple and direct, like “Thank you for all you do every day for X Company and our customers.  I’m really proud to have you as a member of our team!”
  • Host a short virtual meeting (30 minutes or less) where you bring the team together and verbally thank the group.  In this setting, it would be ideal to have attendees join via webcam. 
    • At a minimum, you should show your own webcam so team members can not only hear but also see your sincere appreciation.  You could even pick several team accomplishments you are particularly proud of and include those in your comments to the group.  If you want to make it interactive, you could ask the group to come prepared to share their own positives about the year.

  • Host a virtual team party/celebration via MS Teams, Zoom, etc.  You can get really creative with how you celebrate (and if you are like me and don’t have a creative bone in your body, recruit a few of your team members to plan the event). 
    • The team could do a home scavenger hunt, play charades, engage in a battle of Name That Tune, play Pictionary using the whiteboard function in the virtual meeting platform, etc.

  • Have a virtual BYOB happy hour.  Many teams now are missing the connectedness and comradery that come from sharing the same physical workspace.  Whether pre-COVID your team was dispersed or located in the same office, the reality is that over the past 9 months, energy and resources are spread even more thin.  So, the team would probably appreciate some dedicated time to just be together socially.  No agenda.  No specific outcomes.  Just virtual quality time with each other accompanied by their drink and snack of choice.

Of course, if your budget allows, you could supplement any of the above with gifts for the team.  And if your business operations guidelines support it, any of the options could also be done in person.  -You should feel free to adjust or expand any option to fit your team’s needs.  The most important thing is that you do something to mark the occasion and show your appreciation.

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